How to deal with avoidant loved ones

Recently, a client of mine was struggling to maintain a relationship with his niece and nephew.

He kept trying to put the effort in and make things happen, and the more he tried, the further away they got.

Now this, we discovered, was because they probably have Avoidant Attachment Styles. Avoidants are generally resistant to intimacy, repulsed by authority, and fear that their loved ones will interfere with their lives. This generally stems from childhood trauma whereby close loved ones and friends caused pain when they were allowed “in”.

I can tell you from my experience as a former Avoidant, the more you push, the more they run.

It’s a very simple chasing-causes-fleeing mechanism. If you “try hard” with someone who’s avoidant, they feel suffocated. Even if they love you and want to be with you, if they feel force and pressure and neediness from you, if they feel that you’re trying, they get an instinct to run and hide and avoid.

So, rather than asking questions and trying to push for things to happen, the best thing you can do with an avoidant is just make offers and invitations. And never follow it up or message twice.

You can even directly address the issue by saying, “Look, I can see that you push back when I try to build a relationship with you. So I’m not going to chase you and do all the work. You’re welcome in my life any time. You have my number. The ball’s in your court.”

Let them come to you.

For more on this topic, check out my longer video “Nice Guys with an Avoidant Attachment Style”

One Response

  1. And when you’re with an avoidant, try not to dig for information or give them unsolicited advice. Just share your life, and listen to theirs

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